Ethical bankers, we’re looking for your stories

For a book project on ethics in banking, we are looking for your stories. We would like you to tell us your personal tales when you decided to act according to your moral values in a difficult situation – even though you knew that your colleagues or bosses would not appreciate your attitude and actions. We especially would like to know what you did once you had decided what was right for you to do:

  • Who were the people who helped you in the situation?
  • What did you actually do?
  • What happened afterwards?

We hope your cases will help finance students to develop an activity-oriented ethical decision making in their future jobs. Please, be assured that we will treat your information with the utmost confidentiality from our side if you should wish so.

The book is a nonprofit project.

Please, write us an email with your story to dievorbaenker(at)gmail.com or comment this article below.

Barbara Bohr, on Twitter @nachrichtenlos, and MelanieGajowski, on Twitter @MGajowski, 17.03.2014.

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About Barbara Bohr

I teach communication and project management at a technical college. My Interests are: Text analysis, (financial) innovation for the common good.

2 responses to “Ethical bankers, we’re looking for your stories”

  1. Tobi says :

    I was forwarded your inquiry to provide feedback about a difficult situation in my banking every day life, where I had to decide according to my ethical values and against my bosses‘ directive.

    i would like to share that i find this question rather biased.
    In five years of working for a large US investment bank in London and Zurich, I have not once felt that my job had an unethical component. Not once, i had to make a decision that had greater ethical impact than „is it right to book this or that hotel for business travel“ or „is this trip to London really necessary“.
    And these were earnest questions for me as I aim to live by clear Christian ethical standards.

    It is very difficult to understand that this undifferentiated stigmatisation of an industry is carried forward now into educational project like yours. I.e. Vorbänker being examples for the „rest of the unethical crowd“.

    I worked for an organisation of 280.000 employees globally. I would estimate that only 15.000 of them worked in areas, where their job description had the potential to contradict their ethical values. Probably as much as in any other large company in different industries.
    For example, I have heard about sales practices in heavy industries, defense and machinery, where contracts with large African or Asian enterprises or governmental agencies can not be settled without handshakes of several million dollars and the odd present of a Mercedes or similar „gifts“.
    The banking industry on the other hand is so heavily regulated, that we had to send back Christmas gifts from our clients, if they exceed a certain value (even Chocolates).

    I do not deny the existence of „Wolf of Wall Street“ type of bankers even today (much of it is a myth of the 80s/90s). But it is the specific area they work in and the specific situation they are dealing with. The majority of bankers does a normal job every day providing a service to clients, industries and entire governments, without which today’s business and standard of life would not be possible.

    Thanks for taking this into consideration.

    P.S. I left the industry 3 years ago and have since been managing NFP projects as well as started my own consumer goods company.

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    • Barbara Bohr says :

      Tobi:

      thanks for your valuable feedback. We will take your thoughts into consideration. We have talked to many banking colleagues who share your opinion, but we have evidence that there are areas of the bank where the exposure to ethical conflicts is rather high.
      Yet, it is not our intention to stigmatize a whole industry. The target audience and the target setting of our book explain our narrow focus: we want these cases to be used in classes where the core business functions of a bank are taught. That’s why we are not interested in other sectors or generic cases (the way cases are used in general business ethics classes).
      Considering the huge size of the modern banking industry and its influence on the economy, we think that the topic of finance ethics deserves wider recognition within the finance curriculum.

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